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EU reaches deal on more ambitious renewable energy targets for 2030





European Union negotiators have struck a political deal on more ambitious targets to expand the use of renewable energy by 2030, an important pillar of the bloc's plans to fight climate change and end the use of Russian fossil fuels.


Member states and the European Parliament agreed that by 2030, the 27-country EU will get 42.5% of its energy from renewable sources like wind and solar, member of European Parliament Markus Pieper said in a post on Twitter.


The political deal must now be approved by the EU Parliament and EU countries, before it can become law.


Those votes are usually a formality that approves the deal without changes.


The new law will replace the EU's current target for a 32% share of renewable energy by 2030.


The EU got 22% of its energy from renewable sources in 2021, but the level varied significantly between countries.


Sweden leads the 27 EU countries with its 63% renewable energy share, while in Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Ireland renewable sources make up less than 13% of total energy use.


A rapid shift to renewable energy is crucial if the EU is to meet its climate change goals, including a legally binding aim to cut net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels.


The EU has set an ambitious target to become a "climate neutral" economy by 2050, with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.


The renewable energy targets have gained additional significance since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as the EU has vowed to end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027 - and plans to do this mostly through locally produced, low-carbon energy.


Reaching the new goals will require massive investment in wind and solar farms, scaling up production of renewable gases, and reinforcing Europe's power grids to integrate more clean energy.


The European Commission has said additional investments of €113 billion in renewable energy and hydrogen infrastructure will be needed by 2030, if EU countries are to end their reliance on Russian fossil fuels.


The agreement includes hydrogen, nuclear power and biomass on the list of sources of renewable energy along with solar and wind technology.


Biomass derives from organic material such as trees, plants and urban waste, and includes the burning of wood to produce electricity.


Scandinavian countries defend the practice, but it is criticised by environmental groups over concerns about its impact on forests.


Pascal Canfin, chairman of the European Parliament's environment committee, said the agreement sets strict rules on using biomass.


"The use of biomass is better regulated even if the parliament wanted to go further," Mr Canfin, of the centrist Renew political group, said.


Markus Pieper, of the right-wing European People's Party, said the agreement makes biomass "100% green".


Mr Canfin said the deal also "recognises the specific role of nuclear (energy) which is neither green nor a fossil fuel".


The inclusion of nuclear power was hotly debated in recent weeks.


France, a major producer of nuclear energy, and its allies wanted "low-carbon hydrogen", which is made using nuclear energy, to have the same status as hydrogen made from renewables such as solar and wind power.


A group led by Germany had been opposed to including hydrogen produced from nuclear power over concerns it would slow investments in renewables.


A deal was finally reached after Sweden, which holds the rotating EU presidency, proposed a compromise.

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